Argentina superstar Lionel Messi will not play in the FIFA World Cup final rematch in Dusseldorf so one thinks that Germany is worth backing to win again, albeit without the need for extra time and a late Mario Gotze goal this time.
Messi, who may not have the rightful recipient of the FIFA Golden Ball but certainly was Argentina’s best player in Brazil, picked up a knock during Barcelona’s 1-0 Spanish Primera Division win over Villarreal on Sunday. Barca has chosen not to release Messi because his right hamstring is not 100 per cent and Argentina’s game is a friendly.
Argentina was the last team to beat Germany on German soil but one should take that result with a generous pinch of salt. First, not only did Messi play but also he scored Argentina’s second goal in its 3-1 victory in Frankfurt. Second, Germany goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler was sent off in the 30th minute when the scores were tied at 0-0. And third, Germany midfielder Sami Khedira opened the scoring but he did so for Argentina with an own goal in first-half stoppage time. One cannot take anything significant from the match, certainly nothing with regards to Wednesday’s game.
The match should mean more to Germany than Argentina because it is its first home assignment since winning the FIFA World Cup and it is using the game to prepare for its Euro 2016 qualifying fixture against Scotland on Sunday. Of course, Germany is not going to line up exactly how it did versus Argentina in Brazil two months ago – for example, Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm and Per Mertesacker have retired from international football – but the home side does not have anyone missing anywhere near as influential as Messi.
Watching Russia during the FIFA World Cup was a chore as it struggled to break down opponents. One is going to bet on Russia being painful to watch again when it hosts fellow former Soviet republic Azerbaijan in Khimki, a city just north west of Moscow. BetVictor and Coral are offering odds of +105 that the match between Russia and Azerbaijan goes under two and a half goals, odds that are too big to refuse.
Each of Russia’s last seven games – its opponents have been Algeria, Armenia, Belgium, Morocco, Norway, Slovakia and South Korea – has gone under two and a half goals and four of those matches took place on home turf. Azerbaijan is on an under-two-and-a-half-goals run as well, with each of its last eight games going under the most popular goals total. Incredibly, since Azerbaijan kicked off its FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign two years ago it has played 18 matches and only two of them – 0-3 away to Portugal and 3-0 at home to Malta – have gone over two and a half goals. Maybe both Russia and Azerbaijan will throw caution to the wind and blow the suggested bet out of the water. Whatever happens, odds against about under two and a half goals is over the top given the respective statistics of the two teams.
Finally, if one is looking for an entertaining game to watch then the Czech Republic’s home match against the United States of America in Prague is unlikely to disappoint.
The Czech Republic has scored in each of its last nine games and it has kept just two clean sheets in that time. The United States of America has scored in six of its last eight matches, with its normal-time blanks excusable insomuch that they occurred against Belgium and Germany. Clean sheets are rare for the United States of America under Jurgen Klinsmann so one likes both teams to score at odds of +100 with Coral.
Czech Rep v USA BTTS
3rd September 19:15 GMT
Where to Bet: Coral
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